Filmmakers were honored for their achievements in filmmaking and screenwriting during the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) closing night awards presentation.
The festival, HBFF’s fourth annual competitive event for Black filmmakers screened 80 films, a record number over six days from February 5-10 at the Harmony Gold Preview House in Los Angeles. Black Talent News, the leading premiere publication for African Americans in the entertainment industry was the presenting sponsor. Tanya Kersey-Henley, BTN’s publisher and editor-in-chief has directed production of the festival since its inception. Competing filmmakers and storytellers received prizes valued at more than $22,000.00 from Southwest Airlines, FilmProfit, ROI Reports and Consultation, NBS Post, Screenplay Systems, Black Talent News, The Post Group, Kodak, JR Post and Harrison Reiner, CBS Story Analyst and UCLA Screenwriting Instructor.
In an interesting twist, two Los Angeles based husband and wife filmmaking teams led the pack in the feature category. The HBFF Jury Award for Best Feature Film was won by “All AboutYou,” a romantic comedy written and directed by Christine Swanson and produced by her husband Michael. In “All About You,” a young woman’s realization that she is not included in her corporate climbing boyfriend’s rise to the top prompts her to relocate to start anew. However, she doesn’t actually get the fresh start that she hoped for due to a twist of fate. “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” written by Linda Hamblin Denton and directed by Rayce Denton was this year’s Audience Choice Award Recipient. Screening at HBFF for its Los Angeles premiere, “Flight of the Bumble Bee” is the story of what it means to believe in yourself. The plot revolves around a young thug trying to go straight who learns a powerful lesson about life and living after being forced into a bizarre relationship with an abused woman. The honorable mention in the feature category went to “Blue Hill Avenue,” the story of four friends from Boston that find out the choices they make as children will haunt them as adults. Written and directed by Craig Ross, Jr., the HBFF screening was the film’s West Coast Premiere.
British filmmaker Anthony Alleyne’s dark comedy “The Booth,” an HBFF World Cinema Short took top honors in the Short Film Competition. “The Booth” follows a day in the life of a young entrepreneur who runs a successful travel agency from a phone booth. Receiving an honorable mention was “Firebug,” written by Brian Burgoyne and directed by Michelle Harris. “Firebug” tells the story of a young Black boy who secretly starts fires in rural Georgia circa 1934 as his sharecropping father is harassed by the white landowner to find the culprit.
“Peeping Tom” took top honors in the HBFF Student Film Competition. Produced and directed by Jason Todd Ipson, “Peeping Tom” is a day in the life of 10-year old Thomas on the morning after he breaks a wish bone and his whole world changes once his wish comes true. The Student Film category honorable mention went to “Voting While Black,” written and directed by Malissa Strong. “Voting While Black” is inspired by the events of the 2000 presidential election. The film explores the security of our civil rights today while reflecting on the historical struggles put forth to obtain them.
Top honors in the Documentary category went to “Keeping The Faith With Morrie,” produced by Angel Harper, written and directed by Ashley Rogers. Canadian filmmaker Anthony Sherwood received an honorable mention for “Honour Before Glory,” the story of Canada’s one and only all Black military battalion which was formed during World War I.
Highlighting this year’s festival was the annual HBFF Storyteller Competition. Storyteller finalists participated in a live stage reading produced and directed by veteran thespian Raymond Forchion and Akua Campanella, CSA who also headed the casting effort. Writer Angela Comer’s “The Way You Are” took top honors. “The Way You Are” is the story of two people invading the personal ads on a quest to find a soul mate who discover each other along the way. Michael Ajakwe’s “A Child For A Child” received an honorable mention. “A Child For A Child” tells story of a grief stricken father who on the anniversary of his son’s murder goes to the home of the child who killed him – to murder him.
Get more info from the official Hollywood Black Film Festival web site.
Check out’s FILM FESTIVAL ARCHIVES for more fest news!

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